The COVID-19 pandemic has often brought out the best in people, however we have also seen troubling behavior directed at Asian Americans in our community. I will not cite specific instances as I never want to call attention to these expressions of hate. But I do want to call attention to the fact that targeting members of our community at a time when we all are facing significant changes and challenges is a completely inappropriate and a wrongheaded response to this or any crisis within our community.

Times like these call for our humanity, our thoughtfulness and our strength in community. To get through this pandemic, we need to support one another — not promote divisiveness. We all need to take care of each other and ourselves by staying at home as much as possible, practicing social distancing, and exercising social solidarity.

I am in agreement with University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank who recently said:

“COVID-19 has affected all of us personally, academically and professionally, as well as physically, mentally and socially,” Blank said. “Even so, it’s important to remember: No one person, country, or ethnicity created this pandemic — disease does not discriminate.”

In Madison, we value equity and diversity. We celebrate our differences and diverse cultures, experiences, and perspectives. We know that kindness toward our neighbor and mutual respect with members of our larger community is integral to who we are and who we want to be as a city.

Even though we are unable to come together physically during this pandemic, I urge you to join me in reaching out to our community virtually. There is no question that COVID-19 will have a lasting effect on all of us, on both our physical and mental well-being. We will continue to feel its impact on our jobs, relationships with friends, family, neighbors and our community. However, it is upon each of us to do our best to support one another and be our best selves during this difficult time, so that we get through this as whole as we can. We can and we will, get through this, but we will only get through this together.

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